“Writing is the only art where people want not to have to practice,” says Elizabeth Stark. I have a theory for why this is so: Writing fiction does not require any special equipment. What do you need besides a pencil and your own imagination?
In spite of the urban legends about self-taught geniuses (a few of which are true), most of us mortals need someone like Elizabeth Stark who is not only a writer herself (Shy Girl, Seal Press), but a teacher, editor and coach. Her website is ElizabethStark.com and I recommend you go there immediately – heck, even if you aren’t a writer – for the simple joy of getting blown away without breaking any laws.
Elizabeth’s blog is like having an MFA program come to your house. She covers a wide range of craft issues, but just as importantly, for anyone who’s been daydreaming about fiction but has yet to start, she provides enough inspiration (often filtered through personal experience), to light a fire under an asbestos-coated rear end.
This is truly a multi-media site, enhanced with gorgeous photography and links to podcasts. There’s also a wealth of links to other writers’ blogs. Remember what I just said about an about an MFA program? It was just a paragraph ago.
Let’s get back to that bit about practicing. In a post from March 4 of this year Elizabeth writes, “I’m constantly reminding myself that part of the purpose of early drafting is to write too much. … A runner doesn’t go a block or two here or there, saving up the real push for the Big Event Marathon. A pianist doesn’t insist that her seven-year-old lessons be included in her Carnegie Hall debut. Why then do we writers feel that we are being ‘inefficient’ if we write scenes several times before we nail it, or if we throw out two-thirds of a draft?”
It’s a rhetorical question, because unless you are willing to go the long way around, it’s unlikely you’ll get there.
Now that I’ve been lecturing, how about some of that inspiration I was also talking about? One of Elizabeth’s many free offerings is her new video at www.bookwritingsecrets.com. In a store you might pay $29.99, but if you click now…
Obviously I’ve been watching too much TV at 3:00 a.m. But enough about me. Check out the video.